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How to Replace Exterior Door Handle 1998-2001 Ford Explorer

Created on: 2011-03-22

Watch this video to learn how to replace an exterior door handle. The experts at 1A Auto show how to replace a broken or snapped outside door handle on your 98-04 Ford Explorer.

  1. step 1 :Remove the door panel
    • Use a flat blade screwdriver to remove the bezel around the door latch.
    • Remove the two Phillips screws exposed.
    • Use a rag and your flat head screwdriver to pry up the door lock switch.
    • Unplug the wiring harness and set the switch aside for safe keeping.
    • Use your putty knife and a cloth rag to unclip the door panel.
    • Lift the door panel up and out to remove it.
    • Pull the switch panel through the door panel.
    • Carefully remove the water shield.
  2. step 2 :Remove the door handle.
    • Lift the door panel up and knock out the two rivets securing the door handle with a hammer and chisel.
    • Use a 5/16 drill bit to remove the rivets.
    • Back on the inside of the door, unbolt the 11 mm bolt securing the window track.
    • Use a pair of needle nose pliers to unclip the door handle rod.
    • Pull the door handle up and out.
  3. step 3 :Install the new door handle.
    • Transfer over the door handle rod.
    • Make sure the door handle mount is clear of any debris from the rivets.
    • Feed the new handle and rod down and into place.
    • Bolt the new door handle in using a ratchet and extension to access the nuts on the inside of the door.
    • Clip the rod back in.
    • Test the door handle.
    • Bolt the window track back into place.
  4. step 4 :Reassemble the door panel
    • Check out our door panel explorer video for more detailed door panel assembly instructions.

Tools needed

  • 11mm Socket

    5/16 Inch Drill Bit

    Center Punch


    Cloth Rags

    Flat Blade Screwdriver


    Phillips Head Screwdriver

    Putty Knife


    Socket Extensions

Brought to you buy 1AAuto.com- your source for quality replacement parts and the best service on the internet. Hi, I'm Mike Green. I'm one of the owners of 1A Auto. I want to help you save time and money repairing and maintaining your vehicle. I'm going to use my 20 plus years' experience restoring and repairing cars and trucks like this to show you the correct way to install parts from 1AAuto.com. The right parts installed correctly, that's going to save you time and money. Thank you and enjoy the video.

In this video, we'll be replacing the door handle on this '98 Explorer, same as any '98 to '01. It's also the same as some Sport Trac and Mountaineers. Tools you'll need are a hammer and punch, a drill with a 5/16th bit or a chisel if you have some problems drilling out the rivets, an 11 mm socket and ratchet, needle-nose pliers, Phillips and regular screwdrivers, and a putty knife or door panel clip tool to remove your door panel.

You want to start, use your flat plate screwdriver. Carefully pry back here. You can see mine is already broken, but you want to be careful not to break it right there. It's kind of a weak spot. Even if you do break it, you can put it back together so you don't really notice it. Pull that bezel apart and off. Two Phillips screws under here and remove those Phillips screws. Back with your screwdriver, and if you want, use your rag, pry the top and the bottom, pull it out. Use your screwdriver; there is a side here that has a tooth holding the harness. Just work the screwdriver under there a little bit and disconnect it.

Now around the parameter of the door panel, there are some pins that hold it. What you want to do is, if you're worried about your paint, with the putty knife wrap a towel around it and work it in. Slide it down until you come to a stop and that's usually a pin. Then pull. Come down further. This truck has been apart a few times, so it comes apart pretty easy. Once you have those pins released, then you want to lift up on the panel. It's got a groove here. Behind here what you want to do is- This is held in. You basically want to- there are two teeth. One there and then one back here. You press those down to release them and then it slides out. Now this one, press it down, and then that whole assembly slides right out. Work that through and there's your door panel off. Take your water shield off.

Once you remove your door panel, then you want to lift up your door handle. Your door handle is held in by two rivets. What you want to do is use a punch and a hammer and knock out the center of the rivet right here and do that for both of them. Now use a 5/16th drill bit. You may find that the drilling doesn't work and on this I did have problems with one of the rivets, so I basically just used a chisel and a hammer and just sheered the rivet right off. You want to remove this 11 mm bolt right here and this bolt bolts the window track in. Once it's unbolted, you can pull the track down, and you just kind of have to move it out of the way. That yellow clip right there, you want to reach up through the bottom with a pair needle-nosed pliers and pull the clip off. Now you can pull this rod right out.

Now you can pull the handle up and out. Then you'll want to take this and pull it out of the old handle. This is obviously the old handle. The new handle from 1A Auto comes in black. You can install it as it or if you wanted to you could take your car to an automotive parts place that has a paint department and they can actually match the paint for you and give you some paint in an air-charged can and you can refinish it. The problem with this handle is the springs are both broken so the handle kind of flaps and it rattles. Obviously these are plastic so a lot of times they break, but the new handle from 1A Auto is going to go in and it will fix either your broken handle or your floppy handle.

I've still got some remnants here of the old rivets. I'm just going to poke them out with a screwdriver. The new handle, you want to take your rod and on this driver's side go from the back side and down. We remove the fasteners from our handle. I just put the rod right down and in. The handle, just leave right there for now and open up our door. Once you put the rod down in, just make sure you hold this wire out so that the rod goes in behind it. Now you put the handle up and in, kind of clip it into place. We'll just take our two bolts here, put them through and then from the back side you can see the two studs there. We'll put the nuts on and tighten them up. It's good to have a small extension or you can just use the wrench and tighten up these nuts.

Now you want to make sure the arm of this clip is on. You can see it moves up and down. Just kind of get it in the center of its travel and then just push the rod in. Then you can test it; see how it feels. Now you can push that lock on over. Obviously make sure your door is unlocked, just do a quick test. We're going to put the window track in. You can see that there's a clip on the window track right there. You can see the notch right in the bracket up there, so your window track goes in against there and it slides up in.

We're going to fast forward through putting that last bolt on and then putting your door panel back together. If you want to see this in regular motion, just check out our Explorer Door Panel video. Since you got it apart, you can probably get it back together without too much problem. If your water shield isn't very sticky, then you can use some tape or something to hold it on. After that it's a matter of clipping on the door panel and replacing a few screws and you should be in business.

We hope this helps you out. Brought to you by www.1AAuto.com- your source for quality replacement parts and the best service on the internet. Please feel free to call us toll free 888-844-3393. We're the company that's here for you on the internet and in person.

1998 - 2001  Mercury  Mountaineer
2001 - 2005  Ford  Explorer Sport Trac
1998 - 2001  Ford  Explorer

98-04 Ford Explorer Outside Door Handle LH & RH (Dorman)

Ford Mercury Exterior Door Handle Dorman 79102

Part Details:
  • Black
  • Paint to Match

How to Replace Exterior Door Handle 1995-2000 Chevy Tahoe

Watch this video to learn how to replace an exterior door handle. The experts at 1A Auto show how to replace a broken or snapped outside door handle on your 88-98 Chevy Silverado, Suburban, or Tahoe; or GMC Sierra or Yukon.

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